The past 18 months has provided some amazing insight into how the high growth entrepreneurial mind ticks. As a leader of a high growth company and coach to a number of ambitious individuals, the secrets of what they do are becoming clearer and clearer. There is no one killer action or strategy! Their internal machine is similar to a Rolls Royce jet engine – there are many parts, which contribute to the thrust and power of keeping a plane airborne. However, my own observational research is unearthing a number of common ingredients that help them achieve profitable growth. Here are some of my recent observations of how these ambitious wealth creators go about their work:
They have obsessive ambition to reach their goals. Very often these are anchored by an inner desire to achieve a burning personal intention, this may include supporting family needs, creating financial freedom or wanting to be recognized for what they set out to do. These hard-wired drivers become an inner force for making things happen. A vision becomes real when an entrepreneur knows very clearly what they want from life and what they need to do to support their loved ones. (Unfortunately many entrepreneurs are unable to find clarity – the consequence is more pedestrian growth)
High growth entrepreneurs have a deep belief that they can achieve what they set out to deliver. Whilst they have faith in their capability, very often paranoia surrounding failing becomes a turbo charger for making the right decisions and getting it right. This drives a make it happen mindset.
Entrepreneurial leaders rely on an effective support network. They devote time effort and energy listening to the wisdom of professional advice – this could be informal mentors, professional advisers, business coach, non-executive directors (NEDS). My experience is that business people who commit to self/business improvement perform better than those who don’t. Support around organizational development and structure, strategy, sales and marketing, performance management along with finance is highly sought after. Those who implement great advice benefit enormously!
Building a strong top team is crucial. Whist this may seem like a bit of a cliché, it’s very true but very difficult to put in place. Those leaders who balance managing and winning business with developing top team talent do go on to achieve great things. My research shows that many founding entrepreneurs agonize about finding, retaining and rewarding the right people to run their business. They fall in and out of love with the individuals they work with. Having the right seats filled around the boardroom table is probably the hardest thing for an entrepreneur to achieve. When they get it right there is no stopping them…
Stay close to what you do best but collaborate where necessary. Those entrepreneurs who build great companies focus on their core skills and competencies. Straying too far from the knitting can cause disruption and lack off management skills and expertise can place strain on a growing organisation. Those entrepreneurs who move into new space will outsource tasks that are not core business – these may include R & D, marketing, technology, IT and product development. An ability to collaborate and manage strategic partnerships is becoming an increasingly important competence of a high growth business and entrepreneurial leader. Win – win is the key to any alliance
This represents the first 5 of the new 10 critical success factors to building a high growth company. The next couple of blogs will focus on other emerging themes.